Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today with the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, on the sidelines of the 8th EUMED Summit, held in Athens.
Croatia is participating for the first time in the cooperation scheme of the southern member states of the European Union, which marks its enlargement and strengthening.
The two leaders confirmed the excellent level of bilateral relations, discussed issues of common interest and the prospects for deepening cooperation at bilateral and regional level, with emphasis on the economic sector.
The two Prime Ministers also had the opportunity to exchange views on issues concerning the European Union, such as the Conference on the Future of Europe and migration, in the light of recent developments in Afghanistan.
Mr Mitsotakis and Mr Plenković underlined their commitment to promoting the European perspective of the Western Balkans and maintaining security and stability in the wider South-Eastern Mediterranean region.
Prior to the start of the meeting, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his statements noted:
“It is a great pleasure and honour to welcome you here. I am very happy that we have managed to enlarge the MED 7 and now include Croatia and Slovenia.
We will have the opportunity to spend a whole day discussing various issues of common interest. I am glad that we found some time to discuss the common challenges in terms of climate change and we agreed on what I think is an important document, the Athens Declaration, which clearly sets out the priorities of all the countries of the European Mediterranean in the face of climate change.
I would like to thank you again personally for the support you gave us during the tragic fires this summer. I appealed to you and you responded immediately by sending air assistance. We really appreciated it. This event also highlights the need for even stronger cooperation through the RescEU mechanism.
We will then have the opportunity to discuss the other issues, the geopolitical challenges in the Mediterranean, but also, of course, economic issues, pandemic management issues and how to reopen the economies. But of course also issues related to the Southern Neighbourhood.
During our meeting, we will have the opportunity to focus on our bilateral relations, which are increasingly strengthening… You should also know that we support your goal of even greater integration into the institutions of the European Union. Welcome. It is a great pleasure to see you.
For his part, Andrej Plenković said:
“Thank you very much Kyriakos, Minister, dear friends. It is a great pleasure for me to be back in Athens. This is my second visit since you became Prime Minister and I think it is a very good frequency in terms of our trips here.
I would like to begin by expressing my regret at the tragic fires that you have faced and their great, devastating consequences for the Greek people.
Of course we showed solidarity to the greatest possible extent, with the Canadair that was sent immediately, with its crew. But you also helped us immediately after the earthquake that struck Croatia last December, and that was an expression of the very good relations and positive partnership between our countries.
I am also grateful that Croatia, together with Slovenia, is participating for the first time in the MED Summit of the European Union Member States from the Mediterranean region, which is taking place today in Greece.
I believe that this is a very good enlargement of this group, as both Slovenia and Croatia, countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, belong to this group.
This will allow for a better understanding not only of global and Mediterranean issues, but also of the political and security challenges that we all face. I also look forward to broadening our bilateral cooperation. As far as political dialogue is concerned, I believe that there is nothing that separates us.
As far as the economy is concerned, the ABAX Group is involved in one of the most strategic projects in Croatia, which is the Pelješac Bridge, while Aegean had expressed interest in Croatia Airlines before the pandemic. Economic cooperation is, I think, one of the issues we can look at today.
The meeting was also attended, on the Greek side, by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, the Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Eleni Surani, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Themistocles Demiris and Deputy Government Spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni./ibna